Planning for Normal
Ana went on a school field trip today. Jim drove her there – to a farm in New Paltz – to meet up with the class. They are learning about sustainability and this farm happens to be the original site of her school which was located there, within a little country farmhouse, 20 years ago. Now the school has grown to encompass three buildings and eight grades (not including toddlers, Pre-K and Kindergarten). She was so excited to go, but it turned out to be kind of a cold and miserable morning and she really couldn’t participate much because it meant getting down in the dirt, which she’s not allowed to do just yet (due to the risk of fungus, mold, etc.)
Standing around in the cold and watching your friends farm isn’t really fun, but it is a step closer to “normal” and I was happy to see her get ready to go join them in person this morning, as opposed to dialing into the classroom on her iPad (which is its own kind of awesome, but has its limitations as well).
Jim pulled over near a scenic place by Mohonk and snapped a few pictures of the gorgeous scenery, including this shot which I love.
Dr. Martinez told Jim that Ana is doing so well, she may be able to go back to school after spring break. That means she could be in school as soon as April 8th! The reason I didn’t post this in my last update is that Ana wanted to announce it to her class herself – which she did today. We were waiting on the results of Ana’s bloodwork to see if it was better than last week – but unfortunately, they misplaced her blood.
That’s right. The hospital cannot find her blood test results or, apparently, the vials of her blood that were drawn on Wednesday. I am trying really hard not to get enraged about this. Mistakes happen. Ana will get her blood drawn locally on Monday and I’ll never speak of the lost blood vials again.
Except…how can a state-of-the art hospital just LOSE someone’s blood? Somehow I have to push past the terrifying implication that the hospital where I’ve entrusted my child’s life is incompetent and just let…it…go. Because that’s part of being normal. Worrying about every little mistake and inconvenience is not normal. Being in this state of constant outrage/fear is not normal. I can practically feel myself grinding the brakes. This is a perfect example of how I’m trying to relax the hyper vigilant state I’ve been in and focus on daily life.
And this is a shock to my system. There’s a lot going on here because “normal” was overwhelming BEFORE Ana got sick. A few days ago I was explaining my week to someone – the cats keeping me up at night, the focus I needed for work, the nonstop pace of my day…and she said, “well, were you this overwhelmed before Ana got sick.” And my response was, “YES! Yes, I was this overwhelmed.” In a weird way, Ana’s illness actually gave me a bit of relief from the “normal” chaos of my life. It honed my focus to ONE thing: save Ana, save Ana, save Ana. And that directive is still there. It’s still FRONT and CENTER, but now it has to be rolled into “normal” because she is getting better and little by little she’ll get her life back – school, friends, ice skating – and this will fade like pain must fade. It’s meant to fade – so we can move past it and move on. It’s critical for survival – the mechanism in our brain that dulls the horror into something like a faded yellow photograph. Harmless – far away.
But right now there’s a stark – to the point of being nearly offensive – transition in my life from the horror that I know can happen – has happened – and very well could happen again – to getting back to the “normal” that I mourned and yearned for all these past months. Because, the thing is, I’m not so sure I want that normal anymore. It was HARD and full of empty things that don’t seem as worth it to me as they once did. Those old worries are meaningless and small compared to the stark lines of my child’s sunken cheeks when they burned with fever night after night after night. And I don’t know what to do with this feeling. I don’t want to turn away from it because it seems important. We’re finally coming out of that damned rabbit hole, but nothing up here is the same as it was before.